Redesigning the Member's Area

Keywords: redesign, platform integration, membership management, internal database, subscription renewal, B2B, Saas

CAST Group of Companies Inc.

Jan 2018 - Dec 2020

CAST Group of Companies Inc., an award-winning leader in lighting, design, and previsualization software for nearly 25 years, offers innovative products such as BlackTrax, wysiwyg, and Vivien. These products are developed in-house and supported by a global network. Driven by passion, creativity, and technology, CAST Group's tools enable projects to reach their full potential. Key members of the group include CAST Software Ltd and CAST BlackTrax Inc.

For this project, the focus will be on enhancing the Members’ Only Area (MOA), creating a single source of truth for both existing members and new users. The MOA is the platform where users can renew or subscribe to memberships for accessing CAST's SaaS platform, wysiwyg.

A UX Designer wearing multiple hats
As a UX generalist, my responsibilities included:
- Revamping key website UX and documentation
- Creating demo prototypes using HTML, CSS, JavaScript
- Conducting user research and user feedback
- Collaboration with different departments
Team includes...

The Problem
Despite its leading position in the industry, CAST Group faces significant challenges with outdated design for their internal member's only area platform and an increase in technical tickets throughout the years. These challenges manifest in 4 key areas:

Our Goals
Drive business growth and leadership through increased revenue, innovation, and operational efficiency.
Prioritize customer satisfaction by simplifying processes, providing accurate data, and offering efficient management tools.
Optimize product performance by enhancing user experience, ensuring data accuracy, and integrating functionalities seamlessly.

Our Solution
We embarked on a comprehensive redesign of key platforms to improve interactions and address critical issues, aiming to maintain CAST's industry leadership. This evolved from a minor redesign to a complete system overhaul due to significant flaws impacting revenue, requiring streamlined efficiency.
1. Redesigned the UX and visual experience to make it more modern, and create a single source of truth.
2. Simplified the renewal and subscription process for all users.
3. Providing the admin users a source of truth.

Impact and Outcomes
User adoption rate:
of employees successfully transfer to using the newest internal platform with 10% of the customers still gradually migrating from the old system.
Customer retention rate:
improvement in customer retention within the first year of implementation, reversing the previous 20% decline.
Sales growth:
increase in sales within the 1st year of implementation by enhancing the UX  and streamlining the purchasing process.
Support efficiency:
reduced support tickets in the first year due to improved interfaces and simplified processes, reflecting higher user satisfaction and usability.

The process
1. Learning our current users behaviours
Through data analysis with HotJar and 1-on-1 interviews with CAST employees and customers, we identified pain points such as outdated designs, navigation difficulties, and misinformation on the current legacy platform. These insights were documented on a Lean Canvas to prioritize areas for improvement and guide the redesign project, ensuring a better understanding of how users interact with the legacy database for accessing and renewing their subscription plans.

The redesign of the Members Only Area (MOA) will involve both admins and new or returning customers:

1) New users rely on the Demo, Store, and MOA to explore, purchase, and manage software for the first time, making it essential to cater to their initial interactions and onboarding process.

2) Returning users, who contribute to ongoing revenue through renewals and additional purchases, depend on the MOA for efficiently manage their existing products and team activities.

3) Admins, with their exclusive access to the Admin Portal, play a vital role in maintaining operational efficiency by managing inventory, accounts, and orders.

2. What's in the market?
In the current market, our biggest competitors thrive on the modern UI visuals and the ability to effectively renew and purchase products on their own. However, CAST thrives in the library items and flexible customization provided on the platform to give users freedom on expressing their creativity with lighting design.

To keep up with our competitors, CAST can enhance the platform’s user interface to be more intuitive and visually appealing, so we can attract new users and retain existing ones. Additionally, simplifying the renewal and purchasing processes will align CAST with industry trends, making it easier for users to manage their subscriptions independently. Combining these improvements with our existing strengths will enable CAST to offer a comprehensive, user-friendly experience that stands out in the competitive market.

3. Re-designing the Member's Only Area
1. Prioritizing flow based on user research: With a strategic focus, we targeted the enhancement of renewal and new dongle purchase flows within the MOA, anticipating a substantial boost in sales within the inaugural year post-implementation. Through refining user experience and streamlining the purchasing process, our objective is to optimize sales and bolster conversion rates.

2. Developing functional prototypes to refine functionality: We conducted extensive user research to identify potential gaps and refine functionality iteratively. By consistently refining and enhancing these prototypes, we ensured the final product aligned closely with user needs and expectations.

3. Creating a cohesive design system: Establishing consistency, grid system and predictability across all products, our unified design system facilitates faster and more efficient product development. By providing a common language for users, it reduces design debt, eliminates inconsistencies, and saves valuable time for both employees and customers.

4. Facilitating team alignment: Despite resource constraints, I led the front-end coding efforts while coordinating closely with engineering, development, and QA teams. Through streamlined communication via Jira tickets, we maintained alignment across teams, enabling effective UI creation by engineering and comprehensive testing by QA, ensuring consistency in design, functionality, and behavior.

5. Bonus: integrations with other platforms: Instead of building our own payment system, we dived into secure payment integrations to provide strong security when our customers make a purchase on our platform.

4. Migrating users to the new platform
Collaborating closely with the team, we crafted a migration plan to transition to the new MOA. Recognizing technical limitations of the legacy platform, we ensured the new MOA was built on a secure server and seamlessly integrated with top-tier payment platforms to safeguard user data.

Employing a phased approach, the data migration process was methodically divided into multiple stages, ensuring a smooth and successful transition while minimizing disruption to operations.
the aftermath
Some challenges we encountered were...

1. Managing dynamic and inconsistent data: Challenging to maintain accuracy and reliability in decision-making and analysis.

2. Slow adoption and migration: The gradual pace of adoption and migration to new systems and processes hampers progress, leading to delays in realizing the benefits of updated design systems and workflows.

3. Limited team resources and alignment issues: Arise when team members are required to double their efforts, potentially leading to skill gaps hindering certain aspects of the project.
Takeaways and Lessons
For the past 2 years working on this project, these are the takeaways to push the project forward...

1. Embrace flexibility: we recognized that the data is dynamic and constantly evolving which requires a flexible approach to adaptation and management to maintain accuracy and relevance.

2. Prioritize data consistency: Addressing disparities in data quality and format is crucial to enhancing efficiency and ensuring reliable decision-making and analysis.

3. Foster change management: Proactively address challenges related to slow adoption and migration by implementing effective change management strategies, facilitating smoother transitions to updated systems and processes for improved workflow efficiency.
Next Steps
As the migration process is still going till this day, there are a lot of opportunities to dive into building a strong mobile solution to catch up with the competitors and mobile trend to increase usage. Additionally, having more opportunities to test and understand the user needs to push the design to even more modern UI / visuals.

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